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Update on the BRT Progress

21 Apr

We haven’t talked much about the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as of late, so we thought it might be time for a quick update. We’re still heavily involved in the BRT Stakeholder Committee with two members from Mode Shift serving on the committee (including the chair of the committee), which gives us an opportunity to stay abreast of the project’s status.

Metro held two open houses nearly a year ago (June 2016) during which attendees were able to ask questions, offer input, and tour a 60’ articulated bus (the type Metro will use for the BRT). Attendance was great, excitement was high, and Metro received some great feedback. If you missed the meeting, here are the materials that were presented.

One of the great outcomes of that process was the establishment of the values of the BRT system. They are:

  1. Reliable
  2. Convenient
  3. Rapid
  4. User-friendly

Continue reading

The Top 10 Omaha-Area Transportation Stories of 2016

31 Dec

As we bring 2016 to a close, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on transportation-related accomplishments and challenges over the past year. Here are our top ten transportation stories:

1. Historic Buildings Saved from Parking Partisans

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Mode Shift board member Sarah J. rallying to Save the Specht

Thanks to the mobilization efforts of Restoration Exchange Omaha and Mode Shift Omaha, as well as your letter writing, testimonies, and rallying, Omaha Performing Arts announced last mid-February they would no longer pursue their efforts to acquire and then demolish three century-old buildings to create unnecessary parking to be constructed in their place. Our voices DO matter (at least sometimes)!

2. Victories for Bike Safety

There were some big wins across the state for bicycling this past year. One, thanks to the work of the Nebraska Bicycling Alliance, was the approval of LB 716, which gave people on bikes the same legal right of way in crosswalks as people on foot. The bill also eliminated an outdated mandatory side path provision that was in the statutes. The law went into effect on July 21, 2016. Also, kudos to Lincoln for being the first city in the state to implement a Curb-Protected Bike Lane in a core area of downtown Lincoln. Perhaps someday we’ll see the same in Omaha, such as the protected bike lane on Harney Street featured in the Transportation Master Plan? In the meantime, we’re grateful to the City of Omaha Parks and Recreation for getting the South Omaha Trail finished; this is a much-needed addition to enable a connected, safe riding route from the Keystone to midtown and downtown Omaha. Continue reading

August Coffee Chat — Outlook Nebraska, Inc.

23 Aug

For our August 19 Coffee Chat at No More Empty Cups, we were joined in conversation by Lisa Kelly, Enrichment Programs Director,  and Doug Wampler, Program Facilitator, from Outlook Nebraska, Inc. ONI is a non-profit with a staff of 74, 46 of whom are legally blind, that pursues a mission “to positively impact everyone who is blind or visually impaired” primarily by providing employment. Other programs include “social activities, education, technology and adaptive aids training, and health and wellness programs” designed to serve and integrate the blind and visually impaired into the larger community.

Doug Wampler and his service dog, and Lisa Kelly from Outlook Nebraska, Inc.

Doug Wampler and his service dog, and Lisa Kelly from Outlook Nebraska, Inc.

To achieve their employment mission, ONI has built a manufacturing business that creates 100% recycled content toilet paper and paper towels that are sold to government and institutions. Thanks to the Wagner-O’Day Act of 1938, the Federal government is required to purchase products manufactured by people who are blind, when possible. This creates a market for nonprofits that employ people who are blind. The organization maximizes employment by minimizing automation. As Kelly pointed out, “Where other manufacturers have a machine, we have a person.” Continue reading